BfB Goes To The World Cup 2010 (Without leaving the front room)

The start of the end of some team’s World Cup begins.

At the end of the next sixteen games a number teams will know they are playing for pride and some will be planning for the second round but most will in the balance and that will be true of both these teams.

A pair of draws in the opening games means that no one can be out but the host nation will hope that they can build on a first game that saw them come within a post width of winning to go into the final match with destiny in their own hands.

South Africa begin the game under a volume of noise – anyone who thinks that vuvuzela is one long noise did not hear the roar when the home nation came out – and whipped and early corner in causing confusion in the Uruguay defence but the first chance falls to Diego Forlán who hits two free kicks into the wall. Uruguay – having ensure they would not lose to France – mean business today.

As do the host. The game is as open as one might expect given the stakes and Siphiwe Tshabalala is guilty of wasting two chances hitting long rather than using team mates. This composure will be the difference between those teams who are involved into the knockout stages.

The South Africans warm to the occasion playing tidy, speedy football trying to break through the heart of the Uruguay team but they fall behind as Diego Forlán takes the ball under control and turning away from the midfielder who should close him down more lashes a shot that gets a deflection and wrong foots Itumeleng Khune in the South African goal.

Forlán’s goal never looks like being equalised by the single striker Katlego Mphela who is easily controlled by Diego Lugano while Luis Suárez starts to look dangerous while not justifying his reputation as yet. Forlán though play a withdrawn role and the organisation of South Africa seems to ignore him allowing him to make play in the game.

The South Africans have two options but seem to take neither. They do not make best use of the Uruguay side’s choice to use Forlán in – in essence – a free role which gives them a man over nor do they use that man over to create problems. A change is needed, in attitude if not personnel, although it does not seem to have been forthcoming as the South Americans press further in the second half with Luis Suárez once again disappointing diving rather than taking his man on.

Uruguay spurn a chance when Forlán swings a great delivery to Lugano who misses the free header and connections with his neck. The host are penned in coach Carlos Alberto Parreira brings on the wonderfully named Surprise Moriri to replace one of his holding midfielders. The change makes little difference in the patten of play and the Uruguayans controlling the game in the oppositions half.

South Africa come to life and a cross to Mphela sees the striker have his header saved at point blank range – albeit to the left of the goal by the under utilised Fernando Muslera. They want a corner – it should be – but quickly the game has gone from end to end with Forlán setting up Edinson Cavani who take an air shot in the box. South Africa surge to the other end and test Muslera again.

The game is end to end for a time and enjoyable but after an evening of diving Suárez finally manages to convince referee Massimo Busacca that he has been fouled when getting the slightest touch from keeper Khune who is sent off for his troubles – squatting on the floor wagging his finger at the official who hoves into view fiddling with his pocket. Suárez’s abilities with a ball are not as effective has his skill at making a touch look like a foul.

Moeneeb Josephs comes on to try save the penalty from Forlán but the Uruguay man becomes the first player to score twice in World Cup 2010. South Africa are silent and it is not hard to see why as replays of Suárez’s fall – the slightest contact – flashes onto television screens.

South Africa with ten men are dispirited but must maintain composure – goal difference and not a head-to-head will decide who progresses and the result of the France v Mexico clash will dictate what is needed to stand a chance of going through.

Forlán has a final trick hitting the ball deep to the far side of the box and Suárez flicks the ball back over the the heads off all in the box – the first impressive thing he has done all game – for Pereira to finish. The 3-0 scoreline does not flatter them, but the method of the second goal leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Uruguay though have a foot in the second round – not something one would have thought after the tepid first day performance but a heartening sight for all those teams who defended to a draw in the first set of games.

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